New York, NY — In light of today’s City Council oversight hearing on the Subway Diversion Program, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams and Council Member Brad Lander released the following statement: 

“The Subway Diversion Program, which deploys police officers to target homeless New Yorkers in the subway and coerce them off public transit with the threat of summonses, flies in the face of legislation we passed to combat discriminatory policing. This is only compounded by our failure to build truly affordable, income-targeted housing for those who need it. The Community Safety Act, which we fought to pass over the objections of the Bloomberg administration in 2013 to curtail the rampant discrimination of stop, question and frisk policing, specifically prohibits police from using homelessness as a reason to profile and target someone. 

“Reducing the criminalization of homelessness is a critical goal, but increased police harassment of homeless New Yorkers in the subway is not the solution. Homeless New Yorkers need increased access to services and housing, not increased surveillance and harassment.”